Victorian Government unveils new reforms to provide increased protection for live music venues

THE Victorian Government last week announced it will deliver the agent of change principle to provide increased protection to live music venues, as part of a package of reforms designed to support the Victorian live music industry.

The reforms, which also include new and streamlined licensing laws and controls, updated planning provisions and a financial assistance package, were unveiled by Planning Minister Matthew Guy, Liquor and Gaming Regulation Minister Edward O'Donohue and Environment and Climate Change Minister Ryan Smith.

The Live Music Action Agenda covers:

  • Licensing – new laws and streamlined licensing controls;
  • Planning – updated Practice Note and new Particular Provision;
  • Building – reducing the regulatory burden for smaller venues;
  • Assistance Package – $500,000 Live Music Noise Attenuation Assistance Scheme; and
  • Environment and Noise – review of noise regulations.

Mr Guy said the Victorian Government was moving ahead with its promise to enshrine the agent of change principle in the state's planning framework.

"New residential developments built near existing live music venues will be responsible for noise mitigation features as part of the planning process," Mr Guy said.

"This means beloved pubs and clubs that are home to live music in Victoria will not be forced to close due to noise complaints from those in new apartment buildings or new houses next door. New music venues will of course also be held to these new standards and will be responsible for mitigating the impact of their noise on neighbours."

Mr O'Donohue said legislation will be introduced to the Parliament to require the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor to consider the agent of change principle when dealing with noise complaints.

He added that live music generated an estimated $301 million in gross state product for the Victorian economy in 2009-10 and supported around 15,000 full-time jobs.

In planning, a new Practice Note will be issued to guide decision makers and ensure the agent of change is responsible for noise attenuation measures, while the introduction of a Particular Provision into the Victoria Planning Provisions will make it clear that the agent of change will be responsible for noise attenuation measures required to obtain planning approval.

In addition, a key red tape reduction measure introduced into the building system will ensure that live music venues smaller than 500 square metres will no longer have to meet the same building code compliance measures as large venues.

"By reducing the regulatory burden on live music businesses, the Coalition Government is ensuring the viability of this vital part of Victoria's cultural mix. We have effectively balanced the needs of the live music industry with those of residents and the broader community," Mr Guy said.

The government has also announced its Live Music Noise Attenuation Assistance Scheme, which aims to help live music venues meet noise attenuation obligations.

"We are putting a further $500,000 into the live music industry to assist venues that operate in a heritage listed building or that are not aided by the agent of change planning reforms," Mr Guy said.

To complement these measures, Mr Smith released the Environment Protection Authority and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries' discussion paper on the review of the State Environment Protection Policy that regulates music noise from public premises, including live music venues.

More information is available from the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure's Live Music website at <>.

More information about the Review of Victoria's State Environment Protection Policies for Noise Discussion Paper is available from the EPA Victoria website at <>. It is open for public comment until 15 October 2014.

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